2020 has arguably been the most testing year of Novak Djokovic’s life as a tennis pro. After months of being bashed for the Adria Tour disaster, the Serb was disqualified from the 2020 US Open for accidentally injuring a lineswoman with the ball.
Many believe the pain and ignominy of being defaulted by virtue of his own misjudgment will have a lasting impression on the Serb. And Novak Djokovic’s former coach Radek Stepanek thinks that too.
In a recent interview with CNN, the Czech poured his heart out about the entire fiasco and offered great words of support to Novak Djokovic. Stepanek did, however, reiterate that Djokovic was at fault despite not having any bad intentions.
Novak Djokovic is a deep-feeling person and will be very hard on himself: Radek Stepanek
The legend that he is, Novak Djokovic's biggest frustration will likely be with himself. The Serb was the hands-down favorite to lift an 18th Major at this year’s US Open, and he let that chance slip with an unfortunate act of petulance.
In the end, nobody could defeat Novak Djokovic but himself.
Radek Stepanek believes the Serb would be hurting a lot right now, because he was deprived of a shot at glory by something that was 'unintentional'.
“I know he is very sad inside himself and he is in pain," Stepanek said. "He is in pain because it was unintentional and, in that moment, the pain is bigger.”
The Czech went on to explain that Novak Djokovic’s hunger to achieve the Grand Slam record would have made the suffering worse. At the same time, Stepanek also opined that Djokovic was aware of his mistake and would be repenting his actions.
"And it's hard for him because we know how hungry he is to become the player with the most Grand Slams," Stepanek added. "I believe he felt -- everyone felt -- this one should be for him, reachable. All these circumstances make it very sad for him and in the first moment, empty, because I believe he himself knew that it was wrong that she got hit.”
The greatest of achievers are often the hardest on themselves, and Novak Djokovic is no exception to that. The Serb has very high expectations of himself and gets visibly frustrated when he makes a mistake, and that cost him big time at the US Open.
Radek Stepanek, however, believes that Djokovic - like all humans - has a ‘right to make a mistake’.
"Obviously the pressure on him and the criticism he is getting over time, it's hard," the Czech continued. "He's trying to do the best he can. He might be by the end of his career the greatest of all time. We are all human beings. We have a right to make a mistake.”
So how does a great individual like Novak Djokovic recover from this mishap? Family and love is the answer, according to Radek Stepanek. The Czech believes that time spent with his loved ones will make the Serb feel safe and rejuvenate his mental strength.
"I think he's going to go back to his family and the closest ones to feel in the safe environment," said Stepanek. "Be with his loved ones. I think that one of his biggest strengths is his mental power.”
Radek Stepanek went on to say that Novak Djokovic would be hard on himself despite finding himself in a crisis-like situation. The Czech believes his former ward is a ‘sensitive’ person who feels things very deeply, and that he would only get out of this mess by focusing on his tennis.
"No matter how sad and empty he is right now -- and from what I know, it is very deep because he is a deep feeling person and he is sensitive -- he is also hard on himself right now. I think the thing that gets him out of this will be getting back to work," Stepanek concluded.Published 08 Sep 2020, 23:27 IST